By Nicholas Grevas
Catholic News Service
At about 5:30 a.m. yesterday, Jimmy Becker and Michael Schaefer and a few others set out by bicycle from Covington, La., near New Orleans, and headed to Champaign, Ill. They are leading the third annual Biking for Babies tour. Check the site for video from the ride and a daily update. It’s an eight-day charity ride that aims to raise $15,000 for pro-life groups and crisis pregnancy centers. Becker and Schaefer are being joined by Stacy Hague, Eric Johannigmeier and Kevin Biese.
Along the way they plan to stop at parishes and radio stations to promote their event and increase awareness about the pro-life cause. The money they raise will go to three charities: the University of Illinois Students for Life, and a crisis pregnancy center in Illinois, called Living Alternatives, and a second pregnancy crisis center in Madison, Wis.
In 2008 Becker and Schaefer thought of the idea to do a pro-life charity ride, and in 2009 they rode from Carbondale, Ill., to Chicago. While other students enjoyed a welcome weeklong spring break, the two young men were out answering the call of Blessed John Paul II to “defend life and to change the culture of death,” as Becker put it in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service before this year’s ride began.
The event wasn’t always so easily coordinated. In 2010, the two led separate rides because Becker had graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 and was working in campus ministry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Schaefer was still at Illinois (where he’ll be a senior this fall), and their respective spring breaks were at different times.
But this year they are on the road together with their three friends, knowing riding in the heat could be a challenge but hoping their commitment will inspire others to join them and help Biking for Babies grow into a long-standing tradition.